Professor Christopher Mathias was Professor of Neurovascular Medicine in the University of London, with an appointment held jointly between Imperial College London and the Institute of Neurology, University College London (1991–2013). He has been a Consultant Physician at St Mary’s Hospital since 1982 and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, since 1985. He also consults at the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St Johns Wood, London (since 2012).
He qualified at St John’s Medical College, Bangalore University in 1972 where he won eight college and seven university prizes. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in 1972 and began research on the autonomic nervous system with Dr. John Spalding, in the Department of Neurology. Clinical research also was performed at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, working with Professor Hans Frankel. In 1976, Oxford University awarded him the Doctorate of Philosophy for research in humans on neurological and neurohormonal control of the cardiovascular system. His further clinical training (1976–79) continued in London at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital and in Portsmouth at St Mary’s Hospital/Southampton University Renal Unit. In 1978, he completed his MRCP (UK). In 1979 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science to work with Professor Sir Stanley Peart, FRS, at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London. In 1984, he was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Lectureship in Medicine, held jointly between St Mary’s and the Institute of Neurology with Professor Sir Stanley Peart and Sir Roger Bannister. In 1987 he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, London (FRCP). In May 1991 the University of London conferred the title of Professor of Neurovascular Medicine and in 1995 awarded him the Doctorate of Science (DSc) in the Faculty of Science. In 2001 he was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci). In 2007 he was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by Lisboa University.
Professor Mathias was Clinical Service and Research Director of two leading departments (the Autonomic and Neurovascular Medicine Unit at St Mary’s Hospital and the Autonomic Unit at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London. They were tertiary referral centres serving the entire nation, also with international referrals.
He directed scientists and clinicians researching the role of the autonomic nervous system in health and disease. Autonomic disorders from fainting (autonomic mediated syncope) to excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) were studied, with an emphasis on cardiovascular problems (eg. postural hypotension), in neurological (eg. Multiple System Atrophy and Parkinson’s disease) and medical disorders (eg. diabetes mellitus). There have been major advances in the recently recognised Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and the multi-organ/system cluster they have associated with the joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos III. The Units’ clinical research output earned recognition as unique centres for pioneering work in advancing knowledge and clinical translation in the autonomic field. He held the highest level of NHS Clinical Excellence Award, with a Platinum awarded in 2008 by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA). Funding is from competitive and charitable sources. He has collaborated with many outstanding clinicians and scientists within Imperial and University College, and institutions internationally including leading centres in Europe (Bologna and Innsbruck), Australia (Adelaide) and Asia (Bangalore, Tokyo and Hong Kong).